Why is GOP mega-donor Paul Singer backing Marco Rubio? Rubio’s backing him in the Senate.

Marco Rubio has been picking up steam in the donor primary of late, most notably with the recent news that GOP megadonor Paul Singer was backing his candidacy. In conservative circles, Singer is perhaps best known for his support of same-sex marriage. As he told the Washington Post in 2013, to the chagrin of Newsmax, “I believe marriage equality is critical to the future of individual liberty and the strength of the American family, and the Republican Party should stand for both.” Marco Rubio does not share this belief.

However, Singer is better known elsewhere for his hedge fund, Elliott Management, which makes a lot of money for Singer by buying public debt from struggling countries at discounted prices and suing for full repayment.

Why does this matter to the 2016 race? As the International Business Times explains:

Marco Rubio, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Marco Rubio, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee isn’t typically seen as one of Congress’ “money” panels — it does not oversee economic policy or regulations, so it is not considered a prime spot for lawmakers looking to leverage legislative initiatives for campaign cash. But Sen. Marco Rubio may be the exception: The Republican lawmaker has used his position on the committee to slam Argentina, and now landed a major presidential campaign donor who could make a fortune off that country, if Rubio’s criticism compels the South American nation to submit to its creditors’ demands…

…Bloomberg reports that Singer’s firm, Elliott Management — through a subsidiary called NML Capital — invested in the country’s bonds, and after the country defaulted on its debts in 2001, Singer’s firm was one of a few creditors to decline Argentina’s request to reduce its repayments by 65 percent. Instead, the firm went to court to try to get a full repayment of up to $1.6 billion, at times attempting to seize the country’s assets.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called Singer a “financial terrorist” who is pushing her country to the brink of financial collapse. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has declared that the kind of legal strategy Singer is pursuing against Argentina means “money that is earmarked for poverty reduction and basic social services, such as health and education, may be diverted” to Wall Street firms. The U.N. says such a diversion would threaten to prevent “heavily indebted countries from using resources freed up by debt relief for their development and poverty reduction programs.”

Rubio has, at every opportunity, gone out of his way to pressure Argentina to pay up. According to the Times, he proposed an amendment that would have directed international financial institutions like the World Bank to deny development loans to the country until it made full repayment. He co-authored a letter to the Treasury Department opposing a restructuring of the country’s debt. He made debt repayment a central issue when questioning President Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Argentina during their confirmation hearing, saying that the country was “the most peculiar ally in the world, because it doesn’t pay its debts and doesn’t cooperate militarily.”

Rubio’s pressure on Argentina wasn’t even limited to the country’s debt. He also asked the State Department to sponsor an international investigation into the death of a prosecutor who had accused the government of covering up the details of a terrorist attack from over twenty years ago.

Rubio has also taken a similarly hard line on Puerto Rico’s debt, coming out against a proposal that would allow them to restructure their debt under Chapter 9 of the US Bankruptcy Code. As the Times closes, “In May, Rubio received a $2,700 donation from a top executive at Monarch Alternative Capital, a hedge fund that holds Puerto Rican bonds.”

But sure, tell me again that money isn’t a corrupting influence in American politics.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • RMGH

    You had better just PRAY that Sanders gets the nod then. Because there are many of us in the democratic base that WILL NOT vote for Hillary.

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  • Thank you. Hillary is above criticism because if I criticize her I must really be a Republican. I’m so sick of this shit. Do her supporters not realize that screaming at people who have serious reservations about her as a candidate makes us want to vote for her LESS?

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  • judybrowni

    Yes, because decades of Democratic majorities had forced Republicans to be more moderate, if they wantes to be in the game.

    And the Republicans of that period has fresh memories of the Great Depression, as did their voters.

  • judybrowni

    Hysterical?

    Oh right, because I’m a woman.

    Some male idiot can go all hysterical, but hey he has a penis so blowhard jacked up hyperbole is his birthright, I guess.

    I’m 65 years old.and a student of history, so I’ve not only lived in the decades of middle class prosperity brought by decades of Democrats in charge, but every damn recession and depression in the second term of Republican regimes.

    I’ve also read extensively about the economic poltics of the 20th and now 21st centuries.

    My father and grandparents lived through the Great Depression, again coincidently that crash came after a lock down Republican regime.

    My one grandfather had immigrated to the US at 14, and worked himself up to owning two stores.

    He lost everything, and was never able to get it back, working as a nightwarchman in a factory into his late ’70s.

    I’m the only one here,so far, with factual information and lived experience, as well as a grasp of economic and political history in the US.

    Your hysterical buddy up there is essentially parroting two disingenuous and simple minded Republican propaganda memes: “both sides are the same” and he doesn’t want to vote for “the lesser of two evils.”

    Now don’t you all go all hysterical on me, butter cup.

  • nicho

    It’s a little early in the cycle for all these hysterical arguments. You’re supposed to save them for after the convention. You don’t want to peak too early. We don’t even know who the “greater of two evils” is yet. Who knows, you may like him/her – unless you’re a knee-jerk our-team-good-their-team-bad type.

  • Actually Eisenhower had a Republican Congress for part of his presidency. But that was a very different Republican party than the current one (and the Democratic Party was considerably different then as well).

  • How is this not bribery?

    And the fact that everyone is doing it does not make it okay. But really, why didn’t someone ask the Supreme Court to define at what point big donations in exchange for access and legislation is not taking a bribe?

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  • judybrowni

    Because the Republicans start so many fewer wars?

    Again, not in favor of any wars, but I’ve watched Republicans whittle away the middle class for 40 years.

    Democrats have disappoint ed me for 40 years — but Republicans have horrified me.

    This “both sides do it” is effective Republican propaganda, and you’ve fallen for it.

    As for that “lesser of two evils” propaganda — why would anyone in their right mind want MORE evil?

    Which is what you’re voting for if you don’t vote Democratic.

  • judybrowni

    Economic collapse every damn Republican regime.

    After cleaning up the economic mess the Rlephants left, Clinton left us with a budget SURPLUS.

    If according to you, they’re all the same, I prefer the Democrats who don’t give us major Depressions and Recessions.

    Silly me, I think Americans should be able to feed and clothe their families.

  • You’re right — sorry, all these silly acronyms get me confused. I was thinking about the pipeline.

  • nicho

    one of the many

  • Doug105

    Research, his comments are open and it’s not hard to see he’s not a republican, just one of the ones who believe the parties are so much a like it makes little difference.

  • mf_roe

    It isn’t about “cannon fodder” troops anymore, hasn’t been since Viet Nam. War is just a mechanism to transfer debt to the labor class and empower capital unfettered by obligations to ANY nation. Fascism has evolved beyond the need for a “Host” nation. The IMF WB WTO etc are dwarfing the damage done by DuPont and Nobel.

  • nicho

    Trump, Carson, Cruz, Rubio, Hillary — won’t enjoy any of them. And I see that unless someone worships at the altar of St. Hillary they are a “Republican.” Hillary is a morally challenged corporatist and war monger. You can enjoy watching young Americans being sent off to die in some sandpit to satisfy Hillary’s bloodlust.

  • nicho

    I think he’s still on board with TPP — unless I missed something.

  • judybrowni

    Enjoy your President Trump, Carson, Cruz or Rubio.

    I’m sure any of those clowns will be happy to steer the country into another economic collapse.

    Like the economic collapses that have somehow occurred into the second term of every Republican regime in the United States for nearly one hundred years.

    With the exception of Eisenhower, who not only had a Democratic Congress, but recent memory of the Great Depression, brought on by typical Republican policies he was loathe to repeat.

    Unlike your, and other Republican short term memories.

  • I wonder how much the TPP backers gave Obama.

    Obviously not enough for him to stay bought.

  • nicho

    Right — because Hillary’s big-money backers are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, not because she has done something for them, has promised to do something for them, or they expect her to do something for them. This is how the system works. Why should Rubio be any different? I wonder how much the TPP backers gave Obama.

  • Indigo

    Rubio. A Las Vegas lad who drifted over to south Florida to capitalize on his Hispanic background. It’s working so far. And there’s the money to prove it.

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